Modern-Day Pandemic Hobos On Xootr Scooters

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Disclaimer: Do not do what is described in this piece: Do not walk across a railroad right of way without written permission from local authorities. Only modern-day pandemic hobos on Xootr scooters does this.


Exploring the Northwest Passage with Jorge

Jorge taking a shortcut with me.
Jorge taking a shortcut with me.

My friend Jorge had never explored my Northwest Passage with me, the short cut to get from Guirado Park near the trailhead of the Whittier Greenway Trail to the San Gabriel River Trail, by taking a narrow path from the Whittier side, through one oddly isolated neighborhood to another, to Amigo Park, then through a break in a chain link fence, to walk across railroad tracks, then walk through another break in another chain link fence, onto the San Gabriel River Trail to resume our ride on our Xootr scooters.

No threats from trains

The weather was perfect. No trains threatened us, although on a few previous rides we’ve seen freight trains passing here. We identified which of the several breaks in the fence by the San Gabriel River trail is the one to pass through to get back to Amigo Park for our return.

At Whittier Boulevard, the bike trail underpass is the narrowest in the whole system. Easy to touch both walls with outstretched arms. We walked through it, narrowly escaping being hit by two bicyclists who zoomed through in the opposite direction at an excessive rate of speed.

The San Gabriel River Basin east of the river

We enjoyed a superb ride around the San Gabriel River Basin east of the river, between Whittier Boulevard and Washington Boulevard. On the eastern side of the basin, a trail between the river bed and a parallel canal has been recently paved, and truly it was the best ride we’ve ever had: completely flat, no pavement defects, wide enough for us to ride side by side leaving lots of room for walkers and bicyclists, and no underpasses.

Back up the trail on the west side of the basin

Going back up the trail on the west side of the basin it was fun to pass by sequential suburban back yards, and enjoy seeing several jackrabbits running across the path toward dense greenery near the sparkling blue water filling the basin.

A couple of modern-day pandemic hobos on Xootr scooters

Feeling like a modern-day pandemic hobo.
Feeling like a modern-day pandemic hobo.

Crossing the tracks on foot to get back to the Whittier side at Amigo Park, we felt like a couple of modern-day pandemic hobos. Don’t do this yourself!

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Jonathan Kelley
Jonathan Kelley, 80, was born in Boston, and educated at Exeter and Princeton, then Harvard Medical School, after a year teaching English in Cali, Colombia. He was a Navy anesthesiologist during Viet Nam. He spent the middle decades of his life working in a community hospital in Northern California. Besides his career in medicine, he’s a chef, pianist, and actor in his artistic life. In the kitchen, he specializes in croissants and cooking with coconuts. At the piano, it’s boogie woogie and Joplin rags. As an actor, he’s done fourteen seasons in a Mexican Christmas play in Los Angeles, plus the occasional movie role, as in the soon-to-be-released feature film “Amor en 266 Millas,” where he plays the hippie patriarch of a desert commune in the Antelope Valley. He has two books available on Amazon, “Counting Backwards from 100: My Life as an Anesthesiologist,” and “Short Stories by Jonathan Kelley.” Searching for improved balance and leg strength at age 77, Jonathan came by chance upon a Xootr scooter. Jonathan’s wife is the lovely Puerto Rican actress Gloria Laino. Their mix is like Puerto Rican arroz con gandules served next to New England style cranberry sauce.

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